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Cameron condemns the murder of Haines

ISIS“The murder of David Haines was an ‘act of pure evil’, David Cameron has said after the release of a video appearing to show the UK hostage’s beheading. The 44-year-old aid worker, from Perth, was kidnapped in Syria in 2013. He was being held by Islamic State militants who have already killed two Americans. The latest video also includes a threat to kill a second British hostage. The PM vowed to do everything possible to find the killers” – BBC

Scotland 1): Leave and you go forever, Cameron to tell Scots

“In a fresh blow to the Unionist campaign, an ICM survey gave Alex Salmond’s nationalists a shock eight-point lead, with 54% to the ‘no’ campaign’s 46%. A Panelbase survey for The Sunday Times found the ‘no’ campaign holding a wafer-thin lead on 50.6% to 49.4%. Two polls by Opinium and Survation gave the ‘no’ campaign a six-point and an eight- point advantage respectively…In a speech in Scotland tomorrow Cameron will warn voters that there will be ‘no way back’ if they vote to leave the UK” – Sunday Times (£)

>Today:

ToryDiary: A close No would open an opportunity for Cameron

>Yesterday:

ToryDiary: Brown’s rash devolution pledge undermines both Labour and the Union

Comment by Andrew R T Davies: Wales and Scotland give balance to our United Kingdom

Scotland 2): Redwood – we need an English parliament

Redwood John Oct 11“What we need is an English parliament. To me Westminster is the seat of the English parliament as well as the home of the Union parliament. The staff and buildings we already have could do both jobs. My English parliamentary colleagues and I already do the jobs that Scottish MPs and Scottish members of the Edinburgh parliament do. We could carry on doing both jobs. The difference would be that we would attend the English parliament as a group of English MPs on some days of the week, and we would attend the UK parliament with our colleagues from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales on other days of the week” – John Redwood, Sunday Times (£)

Scotland 3): Darling all but declares victory for No campaign

“Alistair Darling all but declared victory for the no campaign ahead of Thursday’s historic referendum on Scottish independence on Saturday as an opinion poll for the Observer showed Better Together had seized back the lead…An Opinium poll for this paper puts the no campaign on 53% against 47% for yes, among those certain to vote and excluding ‘don’t knows’…In an exclusive interview with the Observer, Salmond struck an upbeat note, saying he could still win over enough no voters. ‘All those who intend to vote no right now are simply deferred yeses,’ he said” – Observer

Scotland 4): But Number 10 remains “incredibly nervous”

Scottish flag“The mood inside No 10, I am told by an insider, is ‘incredibly nervous’. So nervous that nobody in Government seems to have worked out what the full ramifications of a Yes vote would be. As one senior figure admits: ‘Nobody has really thought any of that through. It is simply too traumatising.’ In this desperate battle to save Britain from becoming a disunited kingdom, the bitterest political and personal rivalries have been set aside. One Tory was shocked to overhear David Cameron on the phone to Gordon Brown having a perfectly civil conversation about giving more powers to the Scottish parliament in the event of a No vote” – James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday

Scotland 5): “Scottish soldiers fought and died to defend the UK”

“The former head of the British Army has made a passionate appeal to Scots to reject independence, in the name of their countrymen who ‘fought and died’ to keep the United Kingdom safe. In an article for The Telegraph, Lord Dannatt says more than 100 Scottish soldiers were killed fighting IRA terrorists who wanted to take Northern Ireland out of the UK. A Yes vote in Thursday’s referendum would be a betrayal of their grieving families and would call into question the sacrifices they made during the 38-year conflict in Northern Ireland, he says” – Sunday Telegraph

  • Independence would also wreck Scotland’s defence forces – Lord Dannatt, Sunday Telegraph
  • Send British nukes to US if Scotland votes Yes, say military chiefs – Sunday Express

Scotland 6): Salmond and Farage are masters of the politics of grievance

SALMOND on Marr “It is not brash populism alone that unites them, nor being career insiders who successfully portray themselves as outsiders. It is the fact that they promote a politics in which there is a single solution for all problems – leaving the union. In Salmond’s case the UK, in Farage’s the EU. It doesn’t matter whether it’s jobs, health, housing or innovation both Nigel and Alex know who’s to blame – the government. Just, conveniently, the next level of government up” – John McTernan, Scotland on Sunday

  • An imaginary version of how independence would soon go wrong – Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday
  • If I were Scottish I would vote “Yes” just to spite the people trying to frighten me – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday

…and three of the many leading articles:

Sunday Times: The break-up of the UK would be a tragedy

“It is entirely possible that we will wake up on Friday morning to a break-up of the UK and the end of the idea of Great Britain. This would be a profound tragedy. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has survived world wars and extreme adversity. It has been a beacon to the world and a powerful force for good. Take away Scotland and the rest of the UK would adjust, rather better than an independent but semi-socialist Scotland…But it would be diminished, an echo of what it was before” – Sunday Times Comment

Mail on Sunday: Gamble that could wipe out a nation

UNION FLAG torn“It has long been part of the good sense of our joint nation that we never take anything too far. After three centuries of supposed English domination, Scotland rightly still has its own law and education system and even regained its lost Parliament. That sort of wise compromise is the strength of our Union, and an idealist might even say it was the glory of it. But being British we would not go quite that far. We would just say that our ancient friendship with Scotland is too old, too strong, too good for both of us, for it to be broken now. Please stay” – Mail on Sunday Comment

Observer: After Thursday Britain will never be the same again

“The Scottish people set out on this journey alone – but they have unwittingly taken on board passengers from the rest of the union. When Gordon Brown – backed by the three Westminster party leaders – last week promised Scotland ‘nothing less than a modern form of home rule’ if the vote is no, it signalled that the constitutional make-up of these islands is about to change irrevocably” – Observer comment

  • Devolution is for everyone – Ed Miliband, Observer

…plus a couple of columnists:

This would be divorce, not a trial separation

Scottish Independence“As senior sources emphasise, this would be divorce, not a trial separation. There will be no alimony in the form of a shared currency, only a row over who gets custody of the nuclear subs and the national debt. If Scotland votes for independence, Alex Salmond and Cameron will be obliged on Friday morning to promise neighbourly friendship, a geopolitical Gwyneth and Chris embarking upon ‘conscious uncoupling’. But – rhetoric aside – the split will be anything but amicable” – Matthew D’Ancona, Sunday Telegraph

The Scots and the English are not that different

“At the end of a press conference for what Salmond called ‘our friends in the international media’, a reporter from the television channel ZDF asked him: ‘Is there such a difference between the Scottish people and the English people? Because I don’t think our audience understands this desperate need to split apart.’ Salmond seemed unhappy…The reporter from Germany had, in fact, put her finger on the most important point of all. Just how different are the English and the Scots?” – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)

Labour to target Johnson in “Operation Buffoon”

Boris stands“Labour is preparing to unleash attack dogs on Boris Johnson ahead of the General Election, sources claimed yesterday. The party aims to target the London Mayor’s bumbling image and chequered personal life in a US-style bid to crush his appeal with voters. The Sun on Sunday can reveal the battle plan just two days after Mr Johnson was picked as candidate for the safe Tory seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip. An ‘Operation Buffoon’ assault will focus on undermining Mr Johnson’s claims to be a serious politician” – Sun on Sunday (£)

Dorries: this stalker makes life unbearable for me and my family

“Since 2007, this man, whom I cannot name for legal reasons, has made mine and my family’s lives unbearable and caused us huge embarrassment by harassing people he knows to be close to me. His barrage of vile tweets, blog posts and hurtful videos, combined with emails and ranting phone calls to my office, have made me realise that if I had known of this man’s existence I would never have become an MP” – Nadine Dorries, Mail on Sunday

News in brief

13 comments for: Newslinks for Sunday 14th March 2014

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